05/24/2009 06:33 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Hey Steve! Where's Brooklyn?

Steve Wolfram's new search engine is powered by a huge database and a supercomputer, but can't find a haystack let alone a needle.

WoframAlpha is a new search engine that launched to great fanfare this past week. It is supposed to track down all kinds of data that can be calculated in some way: population of a city, exports of a country, a stock price, etc.

The site claims to have amassed 10+ trillion pieces of data including lots of geographical knowledge. Somehow in all that amassing, nobody told the engine that there is a place called Brooklyn, NY. Wolfram comes up with Brooklyns in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa! But not the biggest one in NYC.


When you type in Queens, the answer is even better -- it doesn't know about Queens, NY; instead Wolfram gives back: Leaders -- President -- Barack Obama, Vice President, Joe Biden. Queen Elizabeth must be miffed.

Searching for Manhattan gives the population of the entire city of NY; some Manhattanites may feel that way, but this is supposed to be a very accurate, mathematically-driven search engine.

Here's hoping for WolframBeta.